Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

My adventures as an adult male figure skater in Tucson, Arizona Portland, Oregon Chandler, Arizona.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ice Café

I had signed up for the Ice Café at Chandler, which started today.  My plan is to use it for patch lessons w/Lynne, but she had a schedule conflict and couldn't be there today.

Unfortunately due to work commitments and distance I really can't skate for more than 45 minutes or so on this session, though I am paying for 90.  Oh well.

Since I had no lesson today I just worked on FO8, FI8 and serpentines.  However the ice was much the same as last Friday (not as bumpy, though) so it was not very productive.  Julie P came out toward the end of the session and apologized for the ice though, and gave us each a free pass for a future Ice Café session.  Nice.

BXOs & Power-3s

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.

Today's lesson
  • BXOs -- we worked on the back crossovers part of perimeter stroking (Bronze moves).   These were better than I thought they would be, though I am not getting enough power really. Still need to bend my knees more and get a better cross, but okay for now.
  • power-3s -- just a few minutes on these, again.  Still working on the same stuff as last week.  I at least really do see how I am leaning out of the circle before the turn -- same problem I have in figures on waltz-8 and 3s to center and, well, lots of places.  

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Monday, August 25, 2014


My spins lesson with Lynne on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Chandler.

The ice was much, much better today.  When I got on at 7:30 it was a little used but not bad at all, and it wasn't foggy.  For some reason, though, around 8ish it started to fog up so that by 8:30 when I finished you couldn't read the clock through the glass.

I've dropped my spin lesson time to 20 minutes since I will be starting patch lessons again next week.  There's only so much time (and more importantly, money) to go around!

Today's lesson:

  • standing start -- meh.  The good news is that I don't need Lynne to draw the line for me anymore.  The bad news is that I'm not holding it quite long enough, but more importantly I'm not holding up the free side after the 3.  Grrr.
  • windup -- a bit better.  I did get one really nice 3 rev spin that was relatively centered, but couldn't repeat it.  What worked was being relatively relaxed, not rushing, and getting the hands/arms rotated and holding the free leg back, then lifting it.  In other words, all the stuff every coach I've ever worked with has told me to do :-).
Before and after my lesson I worked on Bronze moves.  Ugh.  On the positive side I am at least getting myself to do them!

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

2014 Sherwood Invitational

My figures events at the 2014 Sherwood Invitational.

Unlike last year, we had 30 minutes of practice ice after an ice cut after the previous practice ice.  Ice was generally quite nice, as per usual; although at the lobby end patch (which I was on) there were some toe pick holes.  As per usual Coach Kelli was there to get me put together.  I was actually a little disoriented as the ice was so smooth!  Much better, of course, than the horrible ice I had last week at Chandler and much better even than the usual ice I skate on at Gilbert.  So that threw me just a little :-) and of course my nerves were running amok.  We had plenty of time to work out some kinks in my FO8 and FI8.  I did manage to hit a nasty hole while practicing the FO8 and went splat!  No harm, no foul though and it actually kind of loosened me up a bit, so that was perhaps just as well.

My expectations for this competition were pretty low, mostly because I had had so little practice since the beginning of April with the Chandler rink being closed and also traveling a lot.  On top of that my flight into Portland, already scheduled pretty late, was delayed by an hour and 15 minutes.  So between all that I didn't get to bed until roughly 1:30 a.m.; and then I was too keyed up to sleep for another 45 minutes to an hour.  So with all that I was operating on about 4 hours of sleep.

After our practice ice was over I had some time as my two events (FO8, FI8) were the last of 5 figures being skated.  I drew the first position for each event -- the same three of us were skating both figures.  I had a couple of minutes to re-warmup and then out I went to start.  Kelli gave me some last minute suggestions as to good places to start; I had to move over a bit from where I initially wanted to start as I realized I would be too close to the wall, and I also didn't want to come to close to the blue line lest I get faulted for using it as a tangent.  Found my spot, marked my center, deep breath, and pushed off... It went pretty well.  I had a couple of moments of uncontrolled-upper-body issues that worried me; and I cut off the circle a bit on the first RFO so I had to fix it the next time.  My tracing was generally okay and I thought my circles were reasonably okay but my flow needs work and my body positions need to be held more consistently, I think.  After I was done I skated off and conferred with Kelli.

She was very pleased that I'd managed to correct my RFO circle.  Then she informed me that I had skated the whole figure without breathing and I should not do that!  I had to laugh.  Holding my breath is a bad habit I guess.  She suggested I make it a point to breathe on each restart.  After a little bit of a wait (I had a little time to warmup the FI8) it was time for the next figure.

Skated over and picked a spot, deep breath :-) and pushed off.  All in all it went quite well I thought.  In looking at it after I was done I could see that I'd done a really good job of tracing, which I was happy about.  However I also noticed that while my circles were about the same size, they were offset from each other a bit. I've noticed this problem before.  Grrr.

The FO8 results were posted - I got 3rd; two 2nd place ordinals and one 3rd place ordinal.  Placements were all over the map so I could just as easily have gotten 2nd.  I was pretty happy with that.  Eventually the FI8 results came out and I was 3rd there also, but I got a 1st place ordinal! Along with two 3rd place ordinals.  So that made me happy.

All in all I can't complain.  I feel like all things considered I did pretty well.  It makes me want to work harder and get the darn Preliminary test passed and really wow 'em next year.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Competition Prep

My figures lesson with Lynne on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Chandler -- my last lesson before the Sherwood competition.  Unfortunately the ice was actually worse than on Monday!  Very foggy (my glasses fogged up halfway into my lesson) and very bumpy with "stalagmites" and it was actually raining... you could hear the dripping and I had some on my head too.

I had a half hour to warm up and scribe some circles as best I could, then we started.  FO8 was... better than Monday.  We worked on getting down in the knees more and really pushing, and then really sitting back on the edge from the beginning.  We made some progress on this.  FI8 was appreciably better as well, although I had a few uncontrolled upper-body moments.  Grrr.

All in all I feel relatively okay.  Considering how little practice I've had my expectations are pretty low at this point but it will be good to get it out there.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014


My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.

Today's lesson was just on power-3s.  Yep, the whole lesson.  JJ brought a somewhat bigger hockey stick and we continued using that.  The good news is that the back lobe has improved.  The bad news is that the 3s themselves are still pretty stinky.  JJ had me work on stepping forward more square (I was stepping forward somewhat turned out of the circle) and I had only modest success with that.  I am really not getting over my skating side well.  I've done good 3s in the past, but not today.  Grrr.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

FO8, FI8

I skated the 7:30 a.m. FS at the brand-spankin'-new Ice Den Chandler today, for a patch lesson with Lynne since the Sherwood competition is (gulp) SATURDAY.

The rink is so new that... well... there are still a lot of workmen running around... y'know... working.  On stuff.  Like the restaurants and the exercise facility.  The ice itself is up, although I had signed up for East Rink and we were on West instead.  Also they had us changing in a temporary locker room, not the actual locker rooms.

The ice itself -- well, it needs work right now.  It's been quite humid (for Arizona) outside and the dehumidifiers are not keeping up so it's fairly humid and foggy in the rink.  Also it didn't appear that the ice had been cut today so it was a bit crusty and, due to the humidity there's been dripping from the ceiling and the resultant "stalagmites".  So it was not ideal; but it was skateable.  If I'd been doing freestyle it probably wouldn't have mattered so much.  Oh well.  I'm sure they will have it up to snuff soon.  On the positive side, I had it all to myself!

Today's lesson:

  • FO8 -- ugh.  Between the ice and... whatever I was not making it around on one push most of the time.  The fact that I could at all says that it's possible, though.  It was hard to tell how I was tracing between the ice and the fact that my glasses fogged up about halfway through my lesson.  I know I was definitely tending to cut off the end of the circle though, making my return to center a bit diagonal.  Bleah.
  • FI8 -- better than FO8, as usual.  Better in almost every respect, but still not good enough.  I had one push where my pushing foot slipped out to the side which was hard to recover from.  Yuck.
All in all not so great but I'm glad I had the lesson.  Lynne's most consistent feedback was to work harder on getting my hips under me when I push.  I was doing a bit better by the end of the lesson on sitting back on my blade more (Kelli's voice in my head.. "stay seated!" lol).

One more lesson (Friday) and then I fly out for the competition that night. Don't think I will get any more practice other than Friday either.  Ugh.  As I was leaving I was pleased to see Skye there.  I don't know what her title is but she's really an awesome person and I'm glad she's still on staff.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

3s, Circle-8, FXOs

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  After being off the ice for over a week due to illness and miscellaneous stuff it took me a while to warm up.  Fortunately it was a very uncrowded session.

Today's lesson:

  • power-3s -- JJ asked me what my most difficult move was and it's definitely this so we worked on it for a while.  He had me hold the hockey stick on the side (arms straight) to get the feel for getting rotated into the circle.  The two issues here are waiting to the top of the lobe to turn and getting rotated through the BXO so that I can actually step forward for the next lobe.  I think we made a little progress.
  • circle-8 -- still working to get me to get my weight back on the blade to improve my flow on these.  I also need to push a little harder.  Some progress but the LFO is still an issue.
  • FXOs -- the perimeter crossover patterns.  We worked on getting me to turn into the circle more/better for the CW FXO as it's always been a struggle.  Some progress, I think, as I managed to do a whole side/pattern of them without stopping, although I was going kinda slow.

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Thursday, August 07, 2014


My spin lesson with Lynne on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  It's obvious that school is back in session as there were only 3 skaters today.  Yay!

Today's lesson:

  • standing start -- after some initial fudging around we made some good progress on getting me to hold the entrance edge longer and get it to curve around more.  This is partly from my work w/Olivia over the weekend, I think, as well as just sheer making myself wait longer.  So that's much better.  Still working on getting myself to bring the free knee in/up and to actually hold that position. Grrr.  
  • windup -- we made some progress on this, too.  Initially I was totally rushing things but I asked Lynne to count when I stepped forward and this external reference was really helpful in getting me to slow down the tempo and let the entrance edge develop. So it ended up about the same as the standing start.  Not bad.
Not sure if I will get to skate tomorrow.  I'm really sleep deprived and I'll be announcing at PNIC this weekend so no sleep then so I might let myself get a little shut-eye.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Patch Paradise!

I skated the 5:10 FS at Arcadia for patch practice... and had private ice for an hour!  Wow, I don't know how I lucked out like that.  I had brought my scribe too!

I worked on FO8 and FI8 for quite a bit, both on scribed circles and without.  It's coming back nicely and my circles are much better formed.  Tracing still needs improvement, and I really have to concentrate more on being sure to have good position when I start each circle.  Fortunately I'm at the point where I can usual save the figure even if I have somewhat bad position but it's no fun and might freak me out in competition.

I spent a little time on BO8 (trying to get my form back esp. on the first circle) and also some serpentines.  I actually managed my 1.5 circles on my left foot!  Only once though.


My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.

Today's lesson:

  • BXOs to landing position -- we continued working on those.  I'm doing a good job of making the fix to my arm position that we identified last week, and in general they are much better.  I'm still curving around too much on the RBO though.  We worked a bit just on my BXOs.  I need to slow my tempo down a bit and really concentrate.  The CW ones were actually almost okay; the CCW are quite scrapey still.
  • 5-step mohawk -- I'm doing a better job of making myself do the entire pattern without stopping.  The pattern itself still needs work and of course the mohawks themselves are pretty atrocious.  JJ reminded me to keep my head up and that helped a lot with keeping my free leg from flailing all over the place during the mohawk -- so that's an improvement.  I even managed to finish my pattern with a nice t-stop (complete with Bend 'n Snap :-) ).
  • circle-8 -- we rarely look at these since I work on them all the time in patch, however, I find that I actually have trouble with them in my freestyle blades as they don't flow as well.  I really need to work to keep my weight toward the heel on these; I'm still too far forward when I push and for a while after and it slows me down.  Ugh.
Off-ice I am doing a good job of getting to the gym 3x/week (it's only been two weeks though).  Yay me!

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Sunday, August 03, 2014

Spins, Waltz Jumps

Olivia and I skated the 10:30 a.m. freestyle at GCCC and she spent some time working with me, so I'll call it a lesson even though it might or might not really have been, I'm not sure.  The ice was beautiful and there were only like 7 or 8 people there, mostly adults.

We spent a little time working on spins from the standing start; mostly working to get the entrance edge to go straighter and then curve around (that equates to holding it longer and also a better curve, not so diagonal).  We made some progress.

After that we worked on waltz jumps a bit, mostly to try to get the arms correct with the swing back and forward and in/together.  I know this stuff but I am somewhat lazy and/or inconsistent about always trying to do it.  I can get plenty of height if I actually try.  We also worked a little on getting the "h" with the free leg (which I explored with Anna a lonnnnng time ago).  I felt pretty good about them -- I had not done any waltz jumps before today since mid-June at best.


Saturday, August 02, 2014

Speed, T-Stops, 3s

I am in Santa Fe this weekend and had a chance to work with Olivia.  We skated on the public session at GCCC in the afternoon and it was beautiful ice and almost deserted.  What a bargain!  I should take ice skating vacations here. I had a good half hour warmup before we started. Here's what we worked on:

  • speed -- I had asked specifically to work on this.  Olivia kicked my ass!  In a good way.. mostly. We started by doing a time trial of me skating a lap from a standing start.  My time was 48s.  Ugh.  By comparison one of Olivia's beginning students who's only been skating a month or so did it in 30s.  So... we spent a bunch of time working on getting me to consistently stroke without pausing for long periods of time.  What I learned from this -- 1) for some reason I have a real block on pushing onto my right foot.  What's up with that?  2) After 3-4 strokes my fear factor is at a pretty high level.  I'm not sure exactly why.  Anyway we spent a fair amount of time on it (Olivia can be pretty tough when she needs to, lol) and while I can say that there was some definite improvement, there's a long long way to go.  Olivia talked about how when you come out for your warmup, people form their opinion of you right away from how you carry yourself (I'm paraphrasing).  It's true.  I need to come out and skate fast and look confident, and right now I'm just not.
  • t-stops -- we spent some time on these.  While I can do a decent t-stop it lacks confidence and also it doesn't really look like I finish.  Olivia wants the "bend 'n snap" (as in Legally Blonde (Melissa? :-) ) ).  As in bend in for the t-stop, then snap as you stop so  you are standing erect with head held high.  I made some progress on this but it needs practice, definitely.
  • 3s -- I had been working on these before the lesson.  We had just a little time on this but Olivia wanted me to work on not swinging the arms so much and also to watch the position of the leading arm before the turn.  I was a bit confused by this.